(Adds Kazkommertsbank comment, context)
ALMATY Dec 26 Kazakhstan's central bank has
extended a $1.2 billion short-term loan to Kazkommertsbank, the
Central Asian nation's biggest lender by assets, to support its
liquidity, the central bank said on Monday. Half of the amount
has already been repaid.
The central bank said Kazkommertsbank complied
with all regulatory requirements and was processing payments
normally. It also said it was in talks with Kazkommertsbank's
shareholders about boosting the lender's capital.
Last month, sources close to another Kazakh lender, Halyk
Bank, told Reuters it was talks with Kazkommertsbank
about a potential merger which could involve the write-down of
Kazkommertsbank's bad assets and help from the state.
Kazkommertsbank said in a separate statement on Monday it
had drawn liquidity support ahead of an anticipated increase in
pre-holiday payments. Kazkommertsbank said it was not in talks
with the central bank about any "bailout programme".
Half of KKB's assets are tied up in a single loan to BTA, a
former bank that is now a distressed asset management company.
BTA owes KKB about $7.5 billion and has so far missed no
repayments on that debt, but the outlook for future payments is
uncertain, ratings agency Standard & Poor's has said.
(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Richard Pullin)